Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Friends – Come Join Us in Arizona at the Tucson Marathon, Half Marathon or Team Relay!

Hi Everyone...Lisa is on her way to camp and asked me to post this for her!...-Colleen

Jay and I are so proud to join the Tucson Marathon this year as co-race directors with Pam Reed. We would love for you join us on December 2, 2007, in Tucson, Arizona. Consider the three possibilities: the full marathon, the half marathon (sponsored this year by our dear friend Ed Mafoud and his company, Damascus Bakeries) or the team relay.

Visit the race website for more details:

Please note:

If you were registered for the 2007 Chicago Marathon, we have a special discount registration fee offer for you. Read more.

I know many of you have asked about my students who participated in the Chicago Marathon and I am happy to report they are doing just great. Two students have been kind enough to write about their race experience and here are their stories:

Chicago Marathon Race Experience - Terry Madl

In my case Lisa had already recommended a very conservative race plan. I had just finished a 2 month abstinence from running due an injury at the VT100. She had me on a steady diet of spinning, stair master, elliptical, rowing, etc. until I finally got the all-clear from my doctor 10 days before the race. Then she had me quickly work up to a base of a couple hours running using an 8/2 run/walk ratio.

For race day I was to put in 30 minutes at an easy pace before dropping into an 8/2 for each 10 minute period, and holding that until the 20 mile point. After that I would run or walk to the finish depending on what I had left.

Well I had run the previous 5 Chicago Marathons and had managed a personal best last year with a
3:50, but I was shocked at how different this one felt, and knew that target finish times would have to be adjusted. It was already very hot at the start, and also very humid. Later I heard it peaked at 88 and 86 respectively, but it felt way worse coming off the pavement on that wide open course. In any case, I worked our plan, walking and running, and not pushing too hard. It wasn't long before I realized how many others were walking. But none of them seemed to have a plan. They just knew they couldn't keep up their pace. By the halfway point I started to notice an alarming number of runners breaking down all over the place. By the 20 mile point more were walking than running, and I started my run to the finish line. Somewhere around 21 the police got out into the street and announced that the race had been cancelled. We were to stay on the course until the finish line, but we were to walk the whole way. So that's what I did, finishing in 5:02!

It was almost a surreal experience out there, with ambulance sirens nonstop for hours in the distance. From a personal standpoint, I never felt any distress at all. Even with so little running in preparation for the race. I had a conservative, realistic plan. And I had enough experience to adjust it as needed. Most of all that is important when the Marathoner mentality keeps pushing to not quit or even slow down. I know that my work with Lisa has given me a different mindset: equal parts mental toughness and good judgment!

Chicago Marathon Race Experience - Juan Andrade

October 7, 2007 was the 30th anniversary of the Chicago marathon. This is a marathon that I love to run because of the crowd support, the organization, the city and because I have a great group of employees in the area that use this event as a focal point to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). This year we raised $16,884 with the help of a matching grant from the ACS.

Personally, Chicago was my last major race before Ironman Florida in November. Having recovered from a broken leg less than six months ago, I had set up a heavy racing schedule for the Fall. I was feeling great and very confident coming into this marathon having done my last several long runs at very aggressive sub--8 pace. I did not come into this race with a specific time goal in mind. I viewed this race as a B race for me since Ironman is my focus and since the recovery time between the two races is less than a month . As a result, my goal was to go as hard as possible while feeling good and enjoying this race like I do every year. The highlight of this event was meeting four of your other students on Saturday (Ed, Anthony, Ira and Terry). We had a good time talking running.

On race morning, I met Ed, Anthony, Ira and two other friends outside the Hilton Chicago and we walked to the race. By the time we had checked gear bags and used the restroom, it was about 15 minutes from the start. We had intended to line up in the front of the corral but it was so crowded that we ended up way in the back. The heat and humidity was already stifling with the temperature at 8 am at about 80 degrees. My heart rate in the corral was over 100 (I was just standing). As the cannon went off, we shuffled forward to the start and started running. Ed and I paced out together and had to zig zag quite a bit to find clear running room. Even in the first few miles you could tell this was going to be a different day. There was no breeze and the mass of runners running through the canyons of downtown Chicago raised the temperature to a point that it was actually somewhat difficult to breathe. You could already see people walking in the first 5 miles. Ed and I cleared the first 5 miles at a decent pace and we found more open room to run. I had been following Lisa's instructions to the letter on hydration and nutrition. I had hydrated very well the days prior and before the race had taken a salt stick, endurolytes, a gel and my usual bottle of carbo-pro. For the race I was completely self-contained as I train. I was carrying my bottle and wearing my race vest with my gels, salt stick, and endurolytes, as well as extra Perpetuem pouches. I stuck to the plan Lisa gave me and this is why I finished without any issues.

Past mile 5, Ed and I ran together for another 3 or so miles when we lost each other in the crowd. I had picked up my pace after mile 5 to make up time for the slower pace we had to run out of the corral due to the crowds. By the time, I reached mile 10 people were in obvious distress and many more were walking. This was not normal. I was also feeling very hot and my heart rate was at 90%, which was way too high for the pace and this early in the race. At around this time, I made the decision that I was going to stick to my original goal of not pushing too hard and save myself for Ironman. I knew from my heart rate, the heat, and the situation around me that pushing for a PR would be a mistake under these conditions. I stopped racing and started thinking of this as a long training run. I backed off my pace and started to focus on sticking to my hydration plan. I brought my heart rate down. By mile 16, it was a meltdown. People were dropping all over the course and the sound of ambulances was constant. At mile 20, I saw some friends who were cheering for me, including one who was to do her first marathon with me in Chicago but had gotten hurt in training. I remember briefly stopping to say hello and telling her that I was very glad she was not out here running with us and that this was dangerous (she was with another friend who is a volunteer fireman and he had to pull a runner off the course who was in severe distress). They told me that the bank temperature sign said 93 degrees in the shade. This turned out to be somewhat prophetic as 1 mile later as I had passed through mile 21, the police started trying to stop us from running. At first, we were in disbelief. Was this a cruel joke? Who ever heard of a race being called? This was an endurance event. But the police became more assertive and told us it was unsafe to run because of the heat and because there were no more ambulances or paramedics. People were still falling over or throwing up on the side of the road. The aid stations were becoming more chaotic as people were struggling to find liquids. The fire department had started opening fire hydrants and spectators were handing us ice, water, anything that they could buy at local stores. By now, the marathon was disintegrated into a death march. The instructions from the police, race officials and volunteers were confusing. Some offered rides, other said stay on the course, etc. I was feeling fine so I kept going. I found ice and put it in my hat and back of neck and chest and kept going. I'm glad that I always bring extra endurolytes as I had to share them with several people who looked really bad. I made it to the finish line and got my medal.

As I have told people, this was not a race. This was a life experience. I made it because Lisa prepared me physically and mentally. I made it because I am self-reliant and carry what I need to get me through any event. This is something that Lisa has taught me and that has served me well on the very many lonely long training rides and runs. You have to be able to adapt and overcome and you can't always rely on others to take care of you. I am very sorry for all those who got hurt. We are endurance athletes and we understand the risks, but we also have to be prepared for the conditions and make our own decisions on whether or not to step off that starting line.

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